For My Oma – John Tansey 

If the foreknowledge of our own impending death

is not enough to put proper perspective 

upon things, 

then to clear the stern leer of our hatred, 

to forgive the unforgivable

to cut through the flippant diversions

of possesions

and find at the bottom of the bag, 

playing in its emptiness, 

the child, within, that matters most.
My grandmother, old and blind

was, 

like zen, in her old age…
still able to keep the world in order 

carefully absorbed with every action

it almost seemed to evolve around her

she would arrange the yarns by notion

and fold the grocery bags

pat them and place them 

into size-ordered spice tins

and the denominations of money

was a mathematical formula which 
was more complex than quantum physics, even… 

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Faithless &  Godless – John Tansey 

Hopelessness is insidiousuntil,

 suddenly, like a revolution

Man admits to a Godlessness

and the ensuing schism divides his being; 

There is a rumbling at the border of your life, 

making midnight raids at the countryside.
The first casualties are the extremeties, 

the outer environs of your limbs…
Your possessions, your job and the children you clutch most.
So you close the castle gates, 

hold up in the tower, 
Discard, but your faith, to the hunger of the crowds, 

as advisors whisper over your shoulder
‘Give up your crown, your reign, 

your palace, even abdicate’
And in the strait shape of a white shift, 

without mistress and head shaven
You walk the steps to the Iron Maiden

and are stillborn into the next life! 

Exiled – John Tansey 

Exiled…

from my tribe; 

Outcast, ostracized

For defying the elders.

My spear, broken, 

Sling and skin gourd, taken.
Banished…

Pelted with stones 

By those pockmarked with sin

Beaten beyond the mountains I have known

Down into the hinterlands, 

And the cold, wintry wild, alone
Excommunicated…

To be alone, even in death.

Without such security

As the clan and cave, 

I shiver in the cold, 

Get wet in the rain.
Disowned…

No more to be one of them.

I seek shelter on a patch of land, 

Under a thatch of sky

I must fend, now, for myself, 

A lone, lean wolf, scavenging
On the frozen Tundra, alone. 

Evening Comes Like a Delusion – John Tansey 

Evening comes like a delusion

With dimly lit lamps of amber, 

And just enough shadow, For 

Any ghosts you want to step out of.
The day is over, right or wrong.

Nothing more is to be asked of you.

But to dream; The expectations

That things will be better tomorrow.
Only to wake to the bleak, 

Bleary-eyed, onslaught of morning.

And its demand upon you

To walk, from dawn to dusk, 
In lockstep with the ecliptic of the Sun.

Empty Nest – John Tansey

With the boy’s room, draped in white sheets

This whole year, like a cocoon, preserved, in amber, 

She closes another album: The fossil record of their marriage, 

Steeped, in the earthen layers of clay.

Then, turning to face him, two huge land masses: 

He, the old world, she is of the new, 

And with thirty years of continental drift

Having poured an ocean between them, 

They live, now, in different time zones, 

Sleep, eat and speak in different tongues… 

Depression- John Tansey 

Once we lay, limblocked in love, 

woke to reckless sex 

and sweet dreams, brash young 

hearts that joked age would lose this 

race we double-dared it to.
Now you slink from bed.

All future gone from your eyes, 

as you flash this sad

smile, that turns with your thoughts

to too much of our hopes gone past. 

Delusions of Evening – John Tansey

Evening comes. My self-delusion

stirs the synapses

with a steaming cup of coffee.

A dimly lit oil lamp

shrouded with Saffron scarf

casts the room in an amber hue

with subtle shapes in the shadows

while words as gold ingots on the page

forming this poem

with an alchemic blaze.
Morning rises, lighting the gray room 

dispelling truth

from every fold of darkness

to a sterile whiteness

that turning back 

such atomic weight of words

into leaden blocks of stone

I wake, both bleary eyed and blood shot, 

into this failed, pale bleak

truth of morning